Little Bustard, Extremadura


Extremadura, Spain

Dates: 26th April - 3rd May

Short-toed EagleGreat BustardBee-eater

This exciting tour is timed so that we have the best chance of spotting both bustards as well as the majority of the summer visitors fresh in from Africa. Early morning visits to the plains should allow us close encounters with Great and Little Bustards, Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse as well as masses of Calandra Larks. The plains are also home to Montagu's Harrier which nest semi-colonially in long grass / crops and should be back in good numbers in time for our visit. If we're lucky we may see them performing their incredible aerial displays as they set up territory. The region is characterised by the large numbers of raptors that nest here and Monfrague National Park is the centre piece for the area. It lies within easy reach of our base and a visit to the castle in the morning provides superb opportunities to see vultures up close as they catch the early morning thermals from their roost sites. Griffon Vultures are virtually everywhere whilst Black Vultures are found in higher concentrations here than anywhere else in the World. Egyptian Vultures also occur and we're sure to pick them up at some point whilst in the park. The area is also home to the Spanish Imperial Eagle and Black Stork which can be found nesting on rocky outcrops visible from the road. Raptors are indeed everywhere and are a real feature of the trip with up to 18 species expected. It's not all big birds though and colourful passerines such as Bee-eater, Roller, Western Subalpine Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Hawfinch and Cirl Bunting should also be seen during the week.

By contrast we'll be visiting a couple of wetlands which although man made are excellent sites for picking up otherwise rare birds within the province. Arrocampa Reservoir is home to Little Bittern, Purple Heron, Purple Gallinule, Great Reed Warbler, Savi's Warbler, Gull-billed Tern and a whole host of other species associated with wetland habitats. It's also close to a great site for orchids and we'll spend a couple of hours looking around the groves for any specialities that might be in flower at the time. It also provides the more birdy minded amongst the group an opportunity to connect with Booted Eagle and perhaps a passing Short-toed Eagle or roosting Eagle Owl. One day during the week we'll also venture into the Sierra de Las Villuercas to look for Melodious Warbler and Bonelli's Warbler as well as Hawfinch, Woodlark and Goshawk. If time and weather allows we'll drive to the summit of Pico Villuercas which reaches 1,600 m and is home to Black Wheatear and the scarce Rock Thrush.

Although this is not a photographic holiday there will be many opportunities to capture images as the pace is slow; the wildlife often close and the scenery stunning.

Lesser KestrelSardinian WarblerRollers

Short list of species: Black Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Montagu's Harrier, Black-winged Kite, Lesser Kestrel, Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Gull-billed Tern, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Eagle Owl, Pallid Swift, Alpine Swift, Bee-eater, Roller, Calandra Lark, Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Nightingale, Black-eared Wheatear, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Thrush, Orphean Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Savi's Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Bonelli's Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Iberian Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Azure-winged Magpie, Spanish Sparrow, Cirl Bunting and Rock Bunting.

Dates: 26th April - 3rd May

Cost: £1,600 per person for 2 sharing; single supplement £200 (not including flights).

Price includes 7 nights accommodation, all meals and transport throughout the tour.

Accommodation: We'll be staying in a comfortable hotel close to Monfrague National Park in Extremadura.

Group size: 8 (maximum)

Booking: Please email:

Where to meet: Meet in Madrid International airport in the morning of the 26th before midday.